Category Archives: Law Enforcement

An Open Letter Regarding the ICON Bodyguard Scholarship Program

 

To the ICON Selection Committee:

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to all responsible parties for making the Icon Academy Training Scholarship possible.  I was thrilled to learn of my selection for this honor and I am deeply appreciative of your support.  The Icon Celebrity & VIP Protection Course that I attended was truly a learning experience that I intend to use to further my career in the Executive Protection Industry.

I’m currently a law enforcement officer with over fifteen years of experience which has included serving on SWAT, the Gang Unit, the Street Crime Unit, as well as being assigned to the Housing Authority Unit. I can honestly say that being a law enforcement officer does not instantly qualify one to be a bodyguard. While the overall intentions of both an officer and bodyguard are to protect, the methods of protection differ, in some cases dramatically.

During my training at ICON, the CEO, Elijah Shaw touched on different subjects such as the profiles of a celebrity, the challenges one would face in the industry, and of course the responsibilities of a bodyguard.  One of the things I enjoyed was that the classroom time was never strictly lectures; we also participated in a variety of drills and exercises that ensured we understood the subject matter. Also during class, we were being pushed physically by several of the instructors, including Justin Newcomb, a champion Mixed Martial Arts fighter who I now know to be a quiet and reserved pillar in the industry.  Justin Johnson, another talented instructor who is also active in the operational side of the industry, (an important point) provided extensive firearms training during the course that imparted me with some valuable tools.

The week was also filled with some very prominent guest instructors who are very recognizable names in the industry such as Tony Scotti of Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamic’s Institute and Mark “Six” James, of Panther Protection Services. Both were gracious enough to offer their expertise and answer off-the-subject questions during breaks.  I would certainly suggest future students research these individuals so they can fully appreciate what their presence and participation says about the program.

The last part of the training concluded with our participation in a real life Security Detail (one of several running simultaneously). I had the honor of being chosen to be team leader, and responsible for an actual celebrity VIP, T*** D***, of VH1 reality show, “Scream Queens” from the moment her plane arrived in the city.  The assignment was a learning experience in which me and my team were able to take our classroom training and apply it in the most hands on way possible.  Everything that Mr. Shaw and the other instructors introduced in class became reality.   In short they capped an already impressive course with the best illustration I could think of involving understanding what it takes to be bodyguard on a Celebrity security detail.    

In closing, I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking to get in the industry or advance their current skills. I would like to thank the Selection Committee for making the opportunity possible.   While I am not sure if anything like this scholarship program currently exists elsewhere in the industry, it makes perfect sense that it would be found at ICON as they appear to be innovators.  Please thank Mr. Shaw, who I found to be a humble individual whose reputation preceded him, along with the staff, guest instructors, and VH1’s, T*** D***.    I promise you I will continue along this path to success in the Executive Protection field and eventually give something back to others.  I see myself doing this both as a Professional Bodyguard and as well as an Alumnus who will donate towards the ICON Academy scholarship providing a rare opportunity for a future student like myself.

Sincerely,

Curtis Greene

ICON 2011 ALUMNI

New “Caption This” Winner

Results are in for the latest installment of the Bodyguard Blog/ Facebook Caption This… Contest.

The golden ring this edition goes to Russ Saunders from the great State of Wisconsin:

‎"Well," Commander Chong thought to himself, " I probably could have been more specific when I yelled "cover me." ~ Russ Saunders

This week prize is a full set of the ICON VIP Protection Paper Targets, the first line of targets produced for the Executive Protection Professional.  To order your own set click HERE.

Industry Spotlight: Executive Protection Trainer Jerry MacCauley

Icon – Behind the Bodyguard Business holds a spotlight where we feature someone in the Executive Protection, Security or Investigation industry.  Our hope is to provide some insight into our profession and also show newcomers & the media that people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe do this type of work with honor and pride. No it’s not like the movies, but it can be rewarding, thrilling, and yes, sometimes fun.

Agent Name: Jerry MacCauley

Company: Sexton Executive Security, Inc.

Position: Assistant Director

Website: www.sextonsecurity.com

Home city: Chattanooga, Tennessee

What made you decide you wanted to get into the Protection industry?

I have recently retired after 29 years in law enforcement. Having had many occasions where the protection of VIPs was assigned to officers with little or no specialized training, it seemed a natural progression to seek additional skills. A few times, while on an assignment with other officers, it occurred to us that we were not prepared to deal with anything that might cause an evacuation or intervention. Of course, as police officers, we had a support system but I knew that providing professional protective services was much more involved. In fact, there had been a few occasions where sudden changes in the itinerary created havoc, since no one considered we might need a “plan B.” Training had always been one of my strengths so it was natural to learn more about the business. That led to me being able to provide well-trained teams when needed for short-term assignments. Like many other professions, the skills needed to provide personal protection are not necessarily covered in traditional military or law enforcement curriculums. Upon completing my first training course, I began to understand this and have set out to provide as much relevant information to students as possible.

What kind of duties are you currently involved in?

My training duties led to my current position as assistant director of training for Sexton Executive Security, Inc. Sexton is an operational as well as training firm with the goal of providing well trained agents who can be utilize when needed. All graduates are eligible for certification by Commonwealth of Virginia DCJS as Personal Protection Specialists and can operate legally once properly licensed.

What are some of the differences between working as an Operator and a trainer?  Do you prefer one to the other?

I have reached the age where I much prefer training new agents than working the protective assignments. Although I will occasional handle a detail to stay fresh, I get more satisfaction watching new agents as they make the transition from their former careers to this exciting field. As you mentioned, the Hollywood image has created some unrealistic expectations from both the agents and the clients. Providing well-trained personnel is the best way to keep this industry moving in a positive direction. As you realized some time ago, there are many areas of specialization that can be exploited in this business. You may be a great corporate type or have exceptional skills for dealing with high threat environments. Not everyone is compatible for each niche and that is where training becomes paramount. Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. Matching skills to the assignment is an art form in itself.

Can you share a bit of one of your best experiences in the industry so far?

On a recent training class, we presented a team of highly motivated students with a fairly routine, but real time, scenario in Washington D.C.. The team provided protection for our training cadre in a well-known restaurant. As is often the case in these establishments, there are other VIP’s that show up with their own bodyguards. As our team had positioned themselves in strategic locations, a woman came in with 2 of her “protection team members.” The protection team had walked ahead of their client and had climbed a few steps to another level. As they passed our team members, the client stumbled and was immediately caught by one of our students. Her protectors were totally unaware that she had stumbled, or that she had been “saved” by another team. I thought that our guys were going to be hired away before graduation. Having the ability to watch our students perform so well in the real world was extremely rewarding. In fact, we were able to find assignments for most of them within weeks of graduation. Their attention to detail set them apart from most others with little or no training. I’m not a “star-struck” type of person and I have little need for personal recognition in this field but there is nothing like the feeling that you get from knowing you provided a professional to go out in the field and give our industry a good name.

I notice you are active in Social Networking and actually in my opinion seem to “get it” maybe a bit more so that some of our contemporaries in the industry.  What do you attribute that to?

The social networking phenomenon has given many the opportunities to share ideas and exchange resources and experiences. In the fast paced world that we live and operate in, the only way to stay up to date with the state of the industry is by sharing information. That is the best thing about having thousands of professionals in one spot to pass along their experiences, rather than the traditional method of trial and error. The networking opportunities available will continue to be how we stay connected for many years, and hopefully, will provide training and job offerings to those of us in the business.

To those just entering the profession, what advice would you give?

For those who wish to get into this field, my advice would be to look for a training school that has a solid reputation for turning out high quality students. Don’t merely do a goose search and get taken in by a fancy website or low rates. Learn as much as you can about the particular niche that you wish to get involved in, such as celebrity, corporate, high threat, large events, etc., then get connected to those who actually work in those areas. Consider the curriculum that each school offers, especially check that the instructors have actual experience in the topics they teach. If the school doesn’t openly share these things, then that should send up a red flag. Finally, I would suggest that new agents find a mentor. It may be a member of the training schools cadre or a senior member of a protection team, but it’s important to have someone to provide tips of the trade. It will save countless hours of frustration if you learn from the professionals.

Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my experiences with your readers.

Entire Police Force Quits in Mexico Following Attack

If you want a chilling example of how dangerous it is in Mexico as a result of the ongoing drug wars:

The entire police force in a small Mexican town abruptly resigned Tuesday after its new headquarters was viciously attacked by suspected drug cartel gunmen.

All 14 police officers in Los Ramones, a rural town in northern Mexico, left the force in fear after gunmen fired more than a thousand bullets and sent 6 grenades at their headquarters on Monday night.

Amazingly no one was injured in the brazen attack. Mayor Santos Salinas Garza told  news reporters that the officers resigned because of the incident. (no kidding)

The gunmen’s 20-minute shooting spree destroyed six police vehicles and left the white and orange police station pocked with bullet holes.  For the full story click HERE.

I’ve spoken before about the challenges of operating in Mexico HERE.  Be it business or pleasure, if your travels take you into that country please educate yourself to the grim realities that there is a security crisis occurring or astronomical proportions.

Utah Gov’s Security Detail Under Scrutiny

UTAH — Gov. Gary Herbert’s security officers twice last month became involved in his son’s pending stalking injunction in Utah County, according to newly released Orem police reports.

Nathan Gary Herbert, 39, has been accused of stalking the younger sister of someone he was charged with stalking in 2005. Aiona Butters says Nathan Herbert chased her out of the Orem City Library earlier this year. Last month, she told police that Nathan Herbert was leaving the Gold’s Gym in Orem, but upon seeing her, he circled her car several times and followed her back into the gym, a police report states.

After the last incident, Buttars requested a stalking injunction against Nathan Herbert.

But on the same day of the incident, in which Butters told police that bystanders at the gym came up to her and told her that Nathan Herbert had been touching himself while looking at her, the governor’s son went to the Orem police station to talk about the incident himself, according to a police report filed Aug. 4.

Later that day, the officer who had spoken with Nathan Herbert received a phone call from Lt. Jeff Anderson, who is with the governor’s executive protection detail. Anderson told the officer that the governor’s son “was concerned about the possibilities of this report hitting the news media,” the report says.

Anderson wanted to know what had happened, whether Butters and Nathan Herbert had spoken, and if their stories were consistent. The Orem officer informed the lieutenant that Butters and Nathan Herbert had given differing versions of the events.

“I told Anderson that if Nathan didn’t do anything wrong he wouldn’t have needed to come into the Orem police station,” officer C. Black wrote in the report. “This was the end of our conversation.”

A week later, Orem police responded to a reported violation of a stalking injunction at the same gym, 44 E. 800 North, where they were met by both Nathan Herbert and trooper Josh Workman, who was assigned to the governor’s Executive Protection Detail.

Workman told the officer who responded that he was there with the governor’s son to meet with the gym management about the stalking injunction and to be there in case there were any problems, a police report says.

Angie Welling, spokeswoman for the governor, said the governor does not direct when security is to be used.

“Governor Herbert trusts all decisions about the protection of himself and his family, as required by law, to the professional judgment of the Department of Public Safety and members of the Executive Protection Detail,” Welling wrote an in an e-mail responding to questions about the incident. “He does not direct those decisions, nor is he personally involved in them.”

According to state statute, “The Office of Executive Protection shall provide all necessary security and protection for the governor and the governor’s immediate family.” It does not dictate how old an immediate family member can be to still be under this order.

For full story, click HERE

Mexican Mayor Killed By Bodyguard

The drug trade fueled violence in Mexico continues.

According to news reports, six police officers in Mexico have been arrested in connection with the murder of a mayor kidnapped early this week in the ultra-violent north of the country, local authorities said Friday.

The officers, including one who acted as bodyguard to Edelmiro Cavazos, the slain mayor of the town of Santiago, were paid off by a drug gang to facilitate the crime, the regional governor and the prosecutor, Rodrigo Medina and Alejandro Garza, told reporters.

Apparently his other bodyguard was overpowered and beaten but otherwise left alive during the kidnap attempt.

Click for the Full Story of The Mexican Mayor Killed by Bodyguard & Police and Violence Rises.

Kidnapper Tries To Hire Bodyguard Firm to Help?

 

Still trying to get my head around this story, but apparently a man reached out to a well regarded executive protection firm and tried to enlist their aid in kidnapping a female co-worked.  Of course the firm reported it to the police and the man, a former convict was eventually arrested and charged.

Read the strange story HERE.

Mexico Kidnap Ring Operating in the US

“A dangerous kidnapping and murder crew operating in San Diego has been dismantled, according to the District Attorney’s office.

17 members of the alleged crew, known as Los Palillos (the Toothpicks), have been indicted after a two-year investigation. The indictment includes nine murders that the D.A. said happened in San Diego County.

“This rogue group of individuals is responsible for a string of brutal murders and kidnappings that demonstrate the ugly reality of cross-border violence,” said District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis.

Los Palillos consisted of U.S. and Mexican citizens who allegedly established themselves in Tijuana…”

Click on the link for the full story.

Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder?

The Nation.com is reporting in an article written by Jermey Scahill

“A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”

In their testimony, both men also allege that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq. One of the men alleges that Prince turned a profit by transporting “illegal” or “unlawful” weapons into the country on Prince’s private planes. They also charge that Prince and other Blackwater executives destroyed incriminating videos, emails and other documents and have intentionally deceived the US State Department and other federal agencies. The identities of the two individuals were sealed out of concerns for their safety.

These allegations, and a series of other charges, are contained in sworn affidavits, given under penalty of perjury, filed late at night on August 3 in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of a seventy-page motion by lawyers for Iraqi civilians suing Blackwater for alleged war crimes and other misconduct. Susan Burke, a private attorney working in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights, is suing Blackwater in five separate civil cases filed in the Washington, DC, area. They were recently consolidated before Judge T.S. Ellis III of the Eastern District of Virginia for pretrial motions. Burke filed the August 3 motion in response to Blackwater’s motion to dismiss the case. Blackwater asserts that Prince and the company are innocent of any wrongdoing and that they were professionally performing their duties on behalf of their employer, the US State Department.”

For the full story click HERE.

Powerful and potentially damaging allegations.  It will be intersting to see how this plays out.  (Thank you Kerry for bring the story to my attention.)